In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified shift work involving circadian disruption as probably carcinogenic to humans (group 2A), primarily based on experimental and epidemiologic evidence for breast cancer. In order to examine options for evidence-based preventive actions, 16 researchers in basic, epidemiological and applied sciences convened at a workshop in Copenhagen 26–27 October 2011. This paper summarizes the evidence from epidemiological and experimental studies and presents possible recommendations for prevention of the effects of night work on breast cancer. Among those studies that quantified duration of shift work, there were statistically significant elevations in risk only after about 20 years working night shift. It is unclear from these studies whether or not there is a modest but real elevated risk for shorter durations. Hence, restriction of the total number of years working night shift could be one future preventive recommendation for shift workers. The diurnal secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland with peak in secretory activity during the night is a good biochemical marker of the circadian rhythm. Disruption of the diurnal melatonin secretion pattern can be diminished by restricting the number of consecutive night shifts. Reddish light and reduced light intensity during work at...

Bonde, Jens Peter; Hansen, Johnni; Kolstad, Henrik A.; Mikkelsen, Sigurd; Olsen, Jørgen H; Blask, David E; Härmä, Mikko; Kjuus, Helge; de Koning, Harry J.; Olsen, Jørn; Møller, Morten; Schernhammer, Eva S.; Stevens, Richard G.; Åkerstedt, Thorbjörn
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 38(4): 380–390
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